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House Passes Non-Binding War Powers Resolution

Jan. 10, 2020 (EIRNS)—The House of Representatives yesterday passed Concurrent Resolution 83, which mandates the President terminate “the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military,” unless “Congress has declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of the Armed Forces,” or the United States faces imminent attack.

The two Republicans who support President Donald Trump and yet voted for the resolution, Florida’s Matt Gaetz and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie (Florida’s Francis Rooney, also in favor, is a different kettle of fish), raised Constitutional and moral issues.

Gaetz told the House,

“I take a back seat to no member of this body when it comes to defending the President,” but “I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington. If our service members have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them. I’m voting for this resolution.”

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked Gaetz last night why he, the Congressman arguably closest to President Trump, had voted for a resolution which the President had urged Republicans to oppose. Gaetz reported that he had spoken with the President before the vote. The President had said that he is “more anti-war than I am,” Gaetz replied, but he warned that some of Trump’s advisers are “trying to slow-walk the administration into war.” Pro-war candidates lose Presidential elections, and “the President understands that... That’s why I don’t think we are going to war with Iran.”

Representative Massie argued that the vote isn’t about President Trump, for whom he voted and intends to do so again, but “about exercising our constitutional authority. But more importantly, our moral obligation to decide when and where our troops are going to be asked to give their lives.” Massie called for Congress to debate U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and in Iraq—“and then bring our troops home. And we don’t need another war and if we do go to war, it needs to be with the blessing and support of the people and a mission that our soldiers can accomplish....”

A similar, but binding war powers resolution on Iran may go before the Senate next week—if not pushed aside by an impeachment trial. It was drafted by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), but Republicans Rand Paul (KY) and Mike Lee (UT) have endorsed it.

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